It was so great to see the awesome Emily Atack discuss life in the jungle without alcohol on last nights I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. She was chatting to Noel Edmunds about her drinking habits.
‘I’m a bit of a boozer on the outside and I thought coming in here without booze I’d be really quiet and shy but I don’t need it at all. I’m nearly 29 and want to look after myself.’
I found it so refreshing to hear a 28 year old woman say that she didn’t need alcohol. Okay so, I’m sure Emily will be partaking as soon as the opportunity arises but let’s wallow in the truth of her moment of clarity.
Your Confidence Can Breathe Without Alcohol
Before I gave up drinking alcohol, I wouldn’t have gone on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, not being a celebrity being the first hurdle of course, but also due to lack of booze. Like Emily, I would have feared the inability to reach for it if I needed my alcohol crutch. However, as Emily has discovered, when you realise that you can stand on your own 2 feet without it, it really does feel incredible.
The cheap confidence that booze provides is an illusion. It’s temporary, chemical and often replaced with anxiety, self doubt or worse still, depression.
Much like Emily I think I am a natural extrovert. I never drank to make me more chatty or funny. I’m bloody hilarious anyway! (Hate myself a bit too). But alcohol was a crutch in other ways and I still have to work my way through those issues.
I Was A Master Of Avoidance
For me it was about the avoidance of blah. I didn’t want to feel bad, at all, ever! I wanted to be happy, up, joyous, ebullient and celebratory. I didn’t want to feel flat and it got to the point where nothing less than buzz, fizz, pop would do. This wasn’t a conscious thing at all, I only realised this as I had to face these feelings without alcohol. Many ex-drinkers will relate.
It’s the dullness, the grey, the bits in between the highs that I have always tried to avoid. Like stepping on rocks across a reality river, I never wanted to wet my feet with negative emotion. So I wet my whistle instead. (Is that the right phrase or have I just been very inappropriate?) You know what I mean.
Are You A Good Vibes Junky?
If you are a good vibes junky like me then you need tools to get you through the tricky bits: the disappointment, the nothingy blah of waiting for something good to happen. We can’t all head to Australia and drink fish guts as a distraction, tempting though that sounds.
So how do I avoid getting my feet wet these days?
I step in, up to my ankles and let it wash over my boots and soak my socks so that I feel the vitality of it because that’s how you know you’re alive.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and be okay with not being okay. That’s real strength and confidence. It’s where real life is and the only place you can find true happiness.
Contrary to what many drinkers tell themselves, you’re not actually living life to the fullest when you’re clinking champagne glasses or knocking back expensive tequila shots. You’re just in the waiting room while the real event is happening on the other side of the door.
Get Your Feet Wet
Allowing negative emotions to come into my awareness has done 3 surprising things for me.
1. Increased my confidence because I no longer fear feeling bad.
2. Shown me that allowing something to pass makes it pass quicker.
3. Taught me that boredom and waiting are crucial times for learning and creating.
So if you find yourself drinking to avoid dipping your toes in the river of everyday life then let that shit go. It’s not serving you in any way. Once you learn that you have all the resources you need to deal with the crappy bits, you will see yourself as the confident, awesome person you really are, rather than the avoider you have been.
Anyway, back to the jungle. How did it end? I switched off when they had to drink the vomit shake so I have no idea how many stars they won. Seriously, if you enjoy watching people wretch on TV then I am worried for you!!